Bitten by the AV bug early, there has been a seemingly endless supply of opportunities to feed an inherent curiosity about how things work while at the same time enjoying the media being played back. While I wouldn't say I'm obsessed with optimization of my AV systems; "fiddling" to make things better is commonplace. Any given AV fiddle session can typically be triggered by a piece of gear not working quite right… resulting in dissection of said device, or conversely, contently watching/listening and suddenly deciding the performance could be enhanced by more (or different) equipment. Kind of an ongoing left brain/right brain thing.
One of the earliest exhibits of "how bad I've got it" goes back to grade school. After assembling a small collection of AM transistor radios (older siblings were willing to part with them after a sequence of competitive stereo upgrades), I did what seemed plainly obvious; turn all of the radios on to the same station, at the same time. Initially this was done to build up my volume defenses in the escalating stereo wars, but quickly became a science experiment in what actually sounded the best in my room. Radios in all four corners… radios all clustered together… radios up high… radios at different volume levels to simulate directionality. After drawing some attention as to what was going on in my room (a true accomplishment for the youngest of five), I knew I was on to something as they exited grinning and shaking their heads.
As an AV professional (and techie to boot), I'm pretty much still surrounded by AV 24-7. Here's an average AV exposure day.
Occasionally I observe peers in the industry musing about a particular client's lack of AV savvy and/or concern about their own future work prospects. In some (not all) of those cases I also fail to see presence of an AV lifestyle. While Pro AV is "just a job," it is one which affords great perks for those who seek the synergy of AV applications for both work and play. As a technology manager, I'm drawn to the enthusiasm and practical experience that flows from fellow AV "lifestylers." They, as I, understand that being a discriminating consumer makes me a far better advisor to my educators. I also hear and see from their audiences' perspectives, so I know when their points aren't getting across long before they do. But, more about that in Part 2 of this column next month.
What are some of the ways you live a Pro AV lifestyle? Email me, or better yet go to the new rAVe Nation discussion forum and share your creative uses of AV.
The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors' employer(s), past or present.
Greg Bronson, CTS-D, applies AV technologies in the development of innovative learning spaces for higher education. Bronson spent the first 10 years of his career as AV technician and service manager, with the past 12 years as an AV system designer and project manager. He currently works for Cornell University and has also worked for two SUNY (State University of New York) campuses as well as a regional secondary education service depot. Bronson is the originator of concept for InfoComm's Dashboard for Controls and has had completed projects featured in industry publications. You can reach Bronson at email@example.com
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Gary to Keynote at 2008 Business Technology Conference October 16
Come hear Gary speak at the 2008 Business Technology Conference in Iowa, which will feature booths, literature and manufacturers. The exhibitions and attendees are from a wide range of industries, including two-way radio, fire alarm, facility and network security, application & web development, IT services, audio & video, telephony, wireless, network storage, healthcare applications and structured cabling.
Gary will discuss how the integration of information technology affects all of us, no matter what technology sect we're in. He will talk about the skill sets required of employees, and will give attendees the five key steps toward IT integration.
The conference is October 16, 3184 Highway 22, Riverside, Iowa. To register, go to
Click above for more information
Extron Electronics introduced GlobalViewer Enterprise, a new server-based software for managing and supporting larger A/V installations using a Web browser. It provides an easy upgrade path for existing users of Extron's free GlobalViewer Web application using configuration wizards, not programming. Compatible with any Web browser, GlobalViewer Enterprise provides enhanced help desk functionality, enterprise-wide global scheduling and monitoring, time-stamped A/V system data collection for reporting, and also supports integration of rooms controlled by other programmable control systems, such as AMX and Crestron. The easy-to-use interface offers a view of the entire enterprise in a single window and access to detailed room data with a click of a mouse.
Built on Microsoft .NET technology, GlobalViewer Enterprise integrates seamlessly with third party schedule/resource management software for viewing room availability and managing meeting schedules. Additional features include WebCam support for help desk applications, proactive firmware management capabilities, and user-definable hotlists for keeping track of vital system administration tasks. Extron says GlobalViewer Enterprise offers the security and power needed to remotely manage large IP Link-enabled A/V installations that span not only buildings, but cities, states, and countries.
For more information, go to http://www.extron.com/
Software tools, like the Extron system noted here, can help organizations manage their rapidly growing installed base of AV systems… with a staff that likely is not growing at anything close to the same rate.
New Lockbox for DVRs From Video Mount Products
Video Mount Products has a new lockbox specifically to protect DVRs from theft. The DVR-LB1 is vented and includes a fan for additional ventilation. It has an interlocking lift-off lid, and it has a key lock hinged front door. It measures 21 x 21 x 8.
The DVR-LB1 ships October 1 with MSRP of $199.95.
For more information, go to http://www.videomount.com/
In an ideal world, without theft concerns, we wouldn't need such products. But if it's part of your reality, you're needing to consider such items.
Lencore Looks to Redefine Paging Systems
Lencore is shipping Music Page Interface, which the company says is a very different type of paging distribution system. The MPI, says Lencore, replaces all the bulky head end equipment usually needed for music and paging systems. Instead, the company says the MPI requires no additional amplifiers, separate equalizers, special switching equipment or matching vendors for compatible product interfaces.
Lencore also says it can make zone additions, modifications, deletions and other changes to the paging system on the fly. It also eliminates the need for running multiple home runs back to the electrical closet or through building risers to create separate or additional zones.
When connected to the Lencore Spectra i.Net Sound Masking System, the MPI lets you program up to 99 individual zones for paging using standard DTMF tones through a single line telephone wire. The system is also programmed for all call and emergency broadcast paging. The system's one octave band equalizer can be adjusted to either individual zones or can be adjusted for all zones. It also provides fine tuning options.
The company goes on to say that, when used with other pieces of Lencore equipment, programming can be set for up to 1.5 million square feet of space through a single device. Modifications are done through a web browser interface.
For more details, go to http://www.lencore.com/news-files/MPI_Press_Release.pdf
If this catches your eye, be sure to also read the full press release at link above (as well as their website). It looks like when going with the full solution, you get a feature rich system.
Vivitek came up with a "handy" idea. The company is shipping its new D732MX projector, a portable projector with a built-in carrying handle.
This is a DLP projector that weighs 7.3 pounds and is specified at XGA resolution, 3200 ANSI lumens and 2100:1 contrast ratio.
It has fast on and instant off, includes RS-232C and has onboard vertical digital keystone correction.
MSRP is $1,249.
For more information, go to http://www.vivitekcorp.com/d732mx.php
Toshiba Introduces Two XGA Projectors, One With Closed Captioning
Toshiba has a small new projector designed for portability that also delivers closed captioning. The TLP-X100U 3LCD projector weighs just four pounds and stands less than three inches tall. It is specified at XGA resolution, 2200 ANSI lumens, 600:1 contrast ratio and project an image as large as 300 inches.
It includes Blackboard function for adjusting the color for a number of different colored walls, automatic vertical keystone correction, and digital zoom.
MSRP is $839.
For more information, go to http://explore.toshiba.com/projectors/mobile/tlp-x100u
The other new Toshiba projector, the TLP-XE30U, is also a 3LCD XGA model, but specified a little brighter at 3000 ANSI lumens, and with 600:1 contrast ratio. It can also project up to 300 inches and has the Blackboard feature. This one has an MSRP of $1,119.
For more information, go to http://explore.toshiba.com/projectors/mobile/TLP-XE30U
It's pretty amazing to step back (compared to just a few years ago) and see the price/performance factor of current units like these Toshiba projectors. Hmmm… may be something for a Pro AV lifestyle?
Projector Lamp Experts Launches New Program to Reduce Costs for Educators
Projector Lamp Experts announced a new program specifically for educators to make buying projector lamps easier and more cost-effective with major discounts exclusively to schools, universities and colleges.
Its been some time since I've personally ordered replacement lamps (as a designer/engineer they don't let me have screwdrivers anymore :- ) but this supplier looks to have addressed the lamp needs of the education market nicely.
Well, that's it for this edition of rAVe! Thank you for spending time with us as we muse the industry's happenings. To continue getting my newsletter, or to sign up a friend, click the link below. To send feedback, don't reply to this newsletter – instead, write to Contributing Editor Greg Bronson at firstname.lastname@example.org, Publisher Gary Kayye at email@example.com or Editor-in-Chief Denise Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org
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